Friday, May 25, 2007


Click here to check it out.


ABC / This Week with George Stephanopoulos: A debate on immigration reform featuring Commerce Secretary Carlos Guiterrez and U.S. Senator Robert "Bob" Menendez (D - NJ) will highlight this week's programme. Also, former Virginia governor James Gilmore will discuss his longshot Republican campaign for the presidency. And the roundtable will feature political writer Jack Tapper, ABC News consultant and former Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, Los Angeles Times National Political Correspondent Ron Brownstein, and conservative columnist George Will in a discussion of the week's political news.

CBS / Face The Nation with Bob Schieffer: The controversies regarding the U.S. involvement in Iraq and the proposed immigration law will be discussed with U.S. Senators Carl Levin (D - MI) and Jeff Sessions (R - AL), along with CBS News Correspondent Kimberly Dozier.

CNN / Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer: Do U.S. troops have everything they need to win the fight in Iraq? That question will be posed to Congressmen Charlie Rangel (D - NY) and Duncan Hunter (R - CA / Presidential Candidate). Also appearing: U.S. Senator Joseph Biden (D - DE) to discuss his campaign for the White House, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad, and Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.

FOX / Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace: This week the immigration debate will be the topic as U.S. Senators Arlen Specter (R - PA) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R - TX) will be the guests. Also, the programme's "Choosing the President" series continues with former Arkansas governor and GOP candidate Mike Huckabee.

NBC / Meet the Press with Tim Russert: The programme's "Meet the Candidates" series continues with Governor Bill Richardson (D - NM) for the full hour.

Syndicated / The Chris Matthews Show: Has U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton become the inevitable Democratic presidential nominee? And as the debate over the assassination of President John F. Kennedy heats up once again, was there a conspiracy beyond Lee Harvey Oswald? Appearing to discuss the issues are the British Broadcasting Corporation's Chief Washington Correspondent Katty Kay, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell, Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, and David Brooks of the New York Times. Not often we see the same panel two weeks in a row (and Ms. Kay's third straight week on the show), but that is who the show's Web site is announcing.

Bay News 9 / Political Connections: This week's guest: Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer will discuss the Legislature's decision to move the state's presidential preference primary up to January 29 and the possible consequences by the national party, as well as the upcoming campaign.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Republican presidential hopeful and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney spoke to a group of 305 at the Polk County GOP's annual fundraising dinner this evening at The Lakeland Center. In his remarks Romney said the immigration bill about to be debated before Congress should be rewritten to avoid what he called "rewarding" the 12 million illegals currently in the US.

Romney did receive a local endorsement during the event, from State Senator J.D. Alexander (R - Lake Wales), who said that he is working to bring collegues within the GOP leadership to join the Romney campaign.

Click here to read the first story on Romney's visit and comments from the Lakeland Ledger.

UPDATE: Click here to read the expanded story that appeared in Friday's Ledger.


Newsweek magazine has released it's ranking of the top 1,200 public high schools nationwide when it comes to preparing students for college, and quite a number along the I-4 corridor were included in the prestigious list, including several ranked very high.

While we all can agree that there is still much to do when it comes to improving our public educational system, it's nice to know that a good many in Florida were cited for their excellence.

The number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and/or Cambridge tests taken by all students at a school in 2006 divided by the number of graduating seniors. All of the schools on the list have an index of at least 1.000; they are in the top 5 percent of public schools measured this way.

Here is a list along the I-4 Corridor:

RANK ----- SCHOOL ----------------------------- CITY
022 ----- Center for Advanced Technologies ------ St. Petersburg
026 ----- Hillsborough High -----------------------Tampa
039 ----- C. Leon King Magnet --------------------Tampa
054 ----- Spruce Creek ----------------------------Port Orange
064 ----- H.B. Plant -------------------------------Tampa
065 ----- Cocoa Beach -----------------------------Cocoa Beach
066 ----- St. Petersburg ---------------------------St. Petersburg
086 ----- Cypress Creek ---------------------------Orlando
142 ----- Seminole ---------------------------------Sanford
160 ----- University -------------------------------Orlando
167 ----- Bartow -----------------------------------Bartow
191 ----- Lake Brantley ----------------------------Altamonte Springs
229 ----- Winter Park ------------------------------Winter Park
236 ----- Lake Mary -------------------------------Lake Mary
264 ----- Olympia ----------------------------------Orlando
307 ----- Melbourne --------------------------------Melbourne
340 ----- Oak Ridge --------------------------------Orlando
341 ----- Deland ------------------------------------Deland
352 ----- Bloomingdale -----------------------------Valrico
359 ----- Winter Springs ---------------------------Winter Springs
376 ----- Chamberlain ------------------------------Tampa
417 ----- Lyman ------------------------------------Longwood
440 ----- Timber Creek ----------------------------Orlando
441 ----- Palm Harbor University ------------------Palm Harbor
458 ----- Lake Howell ------------------------------Winter Park
470 ----- Seabreeze --------------------------------Daytona Beach
473 ----- Oviedo -----------------------------------Oviedo
476 ----- Land O'Lakes ----------------------------Land O'Lakes
484 ----- Southeast --------------------------------Bradenton
506 ----- Eastlake ---------------------------------Tarpon Springs
525 ----- Ridgeview -------------------------------Orange Park
536 ----- Freedom --------------------------------Tampa
615 ----- Braulio Alonso ---------------------------Tampa
641 ----- Plant City --------------------------------Plant City
712 ----- Gateway ---------------------------------Kissimmee
722 ----- Gaither ----------------------------------Tampa
787 ----- Satellite ----------------------------------Satellite Beach
823 ----- Dr. Phillips -------------------------------Orlando
846 ----- Merritt Island ----------------------------Merritt Island
859 ----- Tampa Bay Tech -------------------------Tampa
956 ----- Sickles -----------------------------------Tampa
992 ----- Boone ------------------------------------Orlando
1038 ---- Celebration ------------------------------Celebration
1057 ---- Wharton ---------------------------------Tampa
1084 ---- Robinson ---------------------------------Tampa
1117 ---- Freedom ---------------------------------Orlando
1164 ---- Pembroke Pines Charter -----------------Pembroke Pines

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Last evening was the final performances for Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis, the two finalists for this season's singing competition. Personally, Miss Sparks is my winner by a landslide. She simply has an incredible voice that is well beyond her 17 years.

That's not to say that Mr. Lewis doesn't have any talent. While he is a fine entertainer, it is unfortunate that his singing talent --- which is supposed to be what AI is all about --- is weak. Blake has taken several chances during the season; some have worked quite well, and others crashed and burned. His beat-box style is what brought him to this point, but if it isn't used appropriately during a some (timing) or if it is used too much, it can be annoying rather quickly.

If I had the choice to purchase a CD between the two finalists, I'd buy Jordin's release in a heartbeat. I could certainly see her doing musical theatre in addition to what should be a fine pop music career.

UPDATE: Well, it's over, and Jordin won, as she clearly should have. She should do quite well, with the proper guidance.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Lakeland Ledger political writer Bill Rufty certainly doesn't mind slamming a politician or organization when he believes the individual or group has screwed up or is ignoring his/her constituents. He does it again in this week's column, which appeared Monday.

The target of Rufty's ire is State Senator Ronda Storms (R - Brandon), who is by no means a stranger to controveresy dating back to her tenure on the Hillsborough County Commission. But the columnist's issue is not anything Ms. Storms has said or done; it's more about what she hasn't done.

Ms. Storms' district includes the eastern half of Hillsborough County, much of southeast Pasco County, and portions of western and northern Lakeland in Polk County (Full Disclosure: I happen to live in her senatorial district...poor, poor, pitiful me). The Polk area has the fewest number of constituents (13,608 registered voters) in the district, compared with 223,112 in Hillsborough and 36,183 in Pasco. Rufty duly notes that in her effort to win the seat last year, Ms. Storms did not bother to campaign in the Polk County area of the district, even declining to meet with the Ledger editorial board. It was only in the closing weeks of the campaign, with Democratic opponent Stephen Gorham gaining in the polls, that Storms' staff offered an interview after ignoring several requests.

So, why does Mr. Rufty mention this now? Because Senator Storms seems to be continuing her ignorance of the eastern portion of her district. As the Ledger columnist notes:

Her predecessor in that seat, Tom Lee...showed up for county delegation meetings even after he became president of the Senate. He visited with constituents and you'd have thought it was the key to the elections.

But a Storms aide recently gave the senator's cold shoulder to Mike Stedem, president of the Polk County Tiger Bay Club who has offered to arrange a meeting any time she wants if she'll just come speak to the club.

Sandra Barkey, the senator's chief legislative aide, responded in an e-mail: "Thank you for the invitation, however the Senator's schedule prohibits her participation."

Ever? Hey if he is giving you a blank check to set your own date, how can you forever be too busy?

Rufty ends his writing with the summary that voter wants to be told either directly or through a politician's actions that their vote is unimportant, and yet that seems to be what Storms' attitude toward Polk meetings implies.


The calendar of upcoming visits by presidential candidates has been updated. Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D - OH) will be making his first visits of the campaign to the Sunshine State to keynote a pair of Latino organizations' events and to participate in the South Florida AFL-CIO candidate forum series.

Click here to check out the full calendar.

Monday, May 21, 2007


"I will campaign in Florida. I will make it a large part of my campaign. I've already done that. I will treat every primary with the seriousness it deserves. ... I am going to be there a lot. In fact, I'm going there next week."

Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico, during his official announcement today in Los Angeles that he is a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.

"Rudy Giuliani is the candidate who will win in Florida...We have a strong and growing team on the ground, and the Mayor’s optimistic vision for the country is resonating across the state."

Republican presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's Campaign Manager Mike DuHaime, responding to a question about Governor Charlie Crist's signing an election reform bill this morning in West Palm Beach which included moving Florida's presidential preference primary to January 29.


Saturday, May 19, 2007


State Senate Minority Leader Steven A. Geller (D - Hallandale Beach) this past week sent a letter to Democratic National Committee Chairman Dr. Howard Dean to address the issue of comments the former Vermont governor and 2004 presidential candidate made recently threatening to punish Florida Democrats after the Republican-controlled Legislature voted to move the state's presidential preference primary to January 29 as part of an overall election reform package. The text of the letter, reprinted here, was originally published on the Palm Beach Post political blog Q Thursday.

Dear Chairman Dean:

This letter is in response to comments you’ve made regarding legislation which passed during the Florida 2007 Regular Session. The legislation included a provision which changed the upcoming presidential preference primary date to January 29, 2008. Reportedly, as a result of this provision, you have threatened to impose stiff penalties on the state of Florida for being noncompliant with certain rules of the Democratic National Committee.

Governor, before you attempt to enforce any draconian measures penalizing Florida or Democrats in this state, I would urge that you carefully reconsider your decision.

The Democratic Leadership in the Florida Senate and House of Representatives attempted to adhere to the rules of the DNC by offering amendments to keep the presidential preference primary on February 5, 2008.

A copy of the amendment offered by myself and the Senate Democratic Leader Pro Tempore is included with this letter. An identical amendment was filed by the House Democratic Leader and the House Democratic Leader Pro Tempore.

But as we are still the minority party in a Republican controlled Legislature, our amendments were overwhelmingly defeated. Simply put, we were outvoted, a scenario which - I’d like to caution - will be difficult to change should you move forward with any sanctions because of the primary date change.

In addition, while our amendments failed, we as Democrats voted for the final product. The legislation we supported finally moved our state from the punch lines into the headlines with regard to election reform, including the creation of a verifiable paper trail, a change long overdue. A verifiable paper trail was one of our Caucus priorities and important to many members of Congress as well.

While you may not like the outcome, as a former governor surely you must respect the system. By threatening to punish Florida Democrats because of actions taken by Florida Republicans, it is the party as a whole which will bear the brunt of your retaliation.

Barring candidates from campaigning in Florida as a punishment not only damages Democrats nationally, it wounds a process essential to our democracy. Every Floridian no matter their party affiliation should have the right to hear first hand Democrats’ plans to change our country and its direction.

Denying that right, Governor, or punishing Florida Democrats could easily cost Democrats this needed swing state. I am enclosing an article from The Florida Times-Union illustrating this point.

As the leader of the Florida Senate Democratic Caucus and a fellow Democrat, I urge you to reconsider your position and let the Florida primary proceed as planned without retaliation.

Senator Steven A. Geller
Senate Democratic Leader

Friday, May 18, 2007


ABC / This Week with George Stephanopoulos: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D - CA) and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R - KY) will appear seperately to discuss a variety of issues, including Iraq and efforts to continue funding the military operation there along with bringing our personnel home. The roundtable will feature Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria, Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation magazine, and conservative columnist George Will in a discussion of the week's political news. And television personality and chef Rachael Ray will talk about her efforts to support Share Our Strength, a nonprofit organization working to end childhood hunger.

CBS / Face The Nation with Bob Schieffer: The guests and topics for this week's show were not noted on the programme's Web page.

CNN / Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer: Something we don't see very much nowadays on Capitol Hill...comprimise, at least on a proposed immigration bill. Two members of the president's Cabinet will appear to talk about why they are supporting the measure, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. Also, U.S. Senators Mel Martinez (R - FL) and Carl Levin (D - MI) will discuss the bill along with Iraq and the controveresy surrounding Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. In addition, Congressman Brian Bilbray (D - CA / Chairman, Immigration Reform Caucus) and Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano (D) will add their voices to the immigration issue. Two authors, Dr. Shibley Telhami (The Stakes) of the Brookings Institution and Vali R. Nasr (The Shia Revival) of the Council of Foreign Relations will discuss Iraq, and Republican presidential candidate Congressman Ron Paul (R - TX) will appear to talk about his longshot campaign. John King will be subbing for Wolf Blitzer this week.

FOX / Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace: Two senators who were directly involved in the comprimise immigration bill will be the main guests this week, Charles Schumer (D - NY) and Lindsey Graham (R - SC). And an interview with former U.S. Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

NBC / Meet the Press with Tim Russert: A debate about our military operations in Iraq with U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Christopher Dodd (D - CT) and former Speaker of the House (and possible presidential candidate) Newt Gingrich (R - GA). Also, a discussion of The Reagan Diaries with Tulane University History Professor Douglas Brinkley, who edited the book, former Reagan Chief of Staff (1981-85) Michael Deaver, and former Attorney General and counselor to the late president Edwin A. (Ed) Meese, III.

Syndicated / The Chris Matthews Show: Could New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg help decide the 2008 presidential election should he decide to run? And what are the real consequences should the United States withdraw our troops from Iraq? Discussing these possibilities will be the British Broadcasting Corporation's Chief Washington Correspondent Katty Kay, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell, Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, and David Brooks of the New York Times.

Bay News 9 / Political Connections: This week's guests: Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson and State Representative Bill Galvano (R - Bradenton)

Thursday, May 17, 2007


In what has to be the most idiotic result in the six seasons of Fox Television's song competition, Melinda Doolittle was eliminated in this week's semifinal. That should mean that 17-year-old Jordin Sparks will easily win in next week's grand finale.

Ms. Doolittle, who has worked as a background singer, was far and away the best and most consistant of the finalists. She was even chosen by judge Simon Cowell as his favourite to make it into the last week of competition. Wheather you love or hate Cowell, you've got to give the man credit; he's been working in the industry as an Artist & Repertoire executive for Sony BMG. Apparantly the teenyboppers flooded the line in favour of Blake Lewis, the beatboxer with only limited true singing talent.

Melinda was certainly my favourite to win it all, although Ms. Sparks has greatly improved her performance over the past several weeks and was beginning to post a real threat. Regardless of what happens now, neither young woman should have much to worry about. Both should enjoy a decent measure of success in the recording studio.

If Blake wins next week...


The non-partisan Tiger Bay Club of Polk County will meet at 11:30 AM Monday (21 May) at the Peace River Country Club in Bartow. Reservations are required, and the cost is $15 per person regardless of wheather an attendee chooses to eat or not (Lunch is extra, of course).

Featured speaker for the monthly event is former State Senator Richard E. "Rick" Dantzler of Winter Haven. Known to many as a moderate, Dantzler served a total of 15 years in the Legislature before resigning from the Senate in 1998 to run for governor. After his gubernatorial campaign ended, the attorney was picked by eventual Democratic nominee and then-lieutenant governor Buddy MacKay as his running mate.

Dantzler will be addressing the Heartland Parkway, a proposed 152-mile toll road which would stretch from the eastern Fort Myers area through mostly rural, agricultrual and enviromentally sensitive lands north into Polk County. He has been the voice of the Heartland Economic, Agricultrual, and Rural Task Force (HEART), a group formed in late 2005 by some of Florida's elite landowners. The group also has ties to State Senator J.D. Alexander (R - Lake Wales), grandson of the late citrus and agricultrual baron Ben Hill Griffin, Jr.


Please keep in mind that this is not intended to be a complete listing of visits. Often, a candidate will drop in for a day or two of fundraising events, which are often not mentioned in the media or on the candidate's public schedule.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D - CA): Florida Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson Dinner
Weston Diplomat Resort & Spa
3555 South Ocean Drive
Tickets: $150

MONDAY, JUNE 11 / 8:00 PM
John Edwards - "Small Change for Big Change" Fundraiser
The Rusty Pelican
3201 Rickenbacker Causeway
Key Biscayne
Tickets: $15 / Cash Bar

John McCain - Orange County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner
Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Studios
5601 Universal Boulevard

Dennis Kucinich - National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials 24th Annual Conference / Presidential Candidates Forum
Disney's Contemporary Resort
4600 North World Drive
Lake Buena Vista

Florida Democratic Party State Convention
Disney's Yacht Club Resort
1700 Epcot Resorts Road
Lake Buena Vista
NOTE: While none of the party's presidential candidates have yet to confirm that they would attend, one would have to assume that many, if not all, would make an appearance. However, any such visits would be based on if state and national party officials can comprimise on a possible alternative to the Legislature's decision to move our primary into January in violation of the rules of both major political parties. If no middle ground can be reached, such as a caucus held later which would make the January primary a nonbinding "beauty contest", any candidate would be risking the loss of any national convention delegates he/she earns from Florida.

Democratic Presidential Debate
Location TBA
NOTE: This debate will be the first event of it's kind to be conducted entirely in Spanish, with instant translation to be made available to candidates who do not speak the language and to the audience. The event is the first of two such planned debates; this one is sponsored by Univision Communications and the University of Miami.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Republicans in recent years have touted their alleged increasing diversity due to their ability to con some within the African-American community to join their ranks. While the GOP can call itself the party of Abraham Lincoln, that was then...this is now.

We could very well be noting the start of some facing reality. Janet Zink in the St. Petersburg Times political blog The Buzz wrote Tuesday that Curtis Stokes, First Vice President of the Hillsborough County NAACP, is considering a change of his political affiliation from the GOP to the Democratic Party following two recent decisions on the local and national level.

Stokes' disappointment comes from three Republican Hillsborough County Commissioners supporting a proclamation honouring Confederate Memorial Day and marking April as Southern Heritage Month. The proposal died after four commissioners refused to sign the proclamation. He also noted Republican representatives' vote against a measure supported by the national NAACP which would have add a voting representative from the District of Columbia (Washington, DC). Currently the District, which has a 57-percent African-American population, has a delegate with no voting privileges.

Stokes has already thrown his support to the presidential candidacy of U.S. Senator Barack Obama, a Democrat, and contributed $2,300 to the campaign during a stop last month in Ybor City.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Lakeland Ledger political writer Bill Rufty makes an excellent point in his column this morning. It's no secret that municipal elections draw far fewer voters when they're not scheduled with a major state or national election. But above and beyond the usual argument that it's everyone's right and responsibility to help choose their governmental leaders, sometimes there are certain issues that should cause people to turn out and cast their ballots.

Here in Lakeland, the city-owned electric utility has entered into a couple of bad deals, most notably with the Florida Municipal Power Agency on which it will have lost an estimated $90 million between 2001 and the time the deal expires at the end of this year.

Rufty reminds us that while the LE losses were a major issue in the 2005 election where four seats were being decided --- all but one being sought by incumbants, including the mayor...and all won reelection --- one would have thought that it would result in a higher turnout, especially among the precients that have a higher percentage of low income residents.

That was not to be. Rufty notes that among two precients with a higher concentration of working poor, the turnout was five and seven percent, while the highest turnout was in one of the most affluent areas of Lakeland, with 25 percent.

Just another reminder, friends, that it is one thing to complain about the way things are. But if we truly want change in the way things are done, two things have to happen:

1) We have to have candidates who are truly concerned and willing to work to make changes happen. I don't mean idelogues such as Jeb Bush, who often took a "my way or no way" approach in dealing with people while governor. At the same time, everyone needs to be aware that change doesn't usually come in one huge sweep. Issues are often complex, and comprimises usually have to be made in order to take small steps toward the eventual goal.

2) Take advantage of your responsibility as a citizen and vote, wheather it be a presidential or municipal election. Learn about the issues, find a candidate who is willing to work toward making changes, and support him/her! Yeah, many of us have lives with jobs and families, and supposedly don't have time for other endeavors. However, if you don't take advantage of the opportunity to make changes, it simply won't happen.

Thanks to Mr. Rufty for the reminder.


Yesterday, we finally got a decent dose of rain in Lakeland and Polk County! As everyone knows, much of the state has been in the midst of a drought, and at this point we need all the rain we can get to replenish the water supply as well as help toward controlling the wildfires that have sprouted up and caused periods of thick smoke to reduce visibility in the area.

But while the rains are certainly welcomed, some of the thunderstorms this weekend had become severe, with up to an inch thick hail coming down in several areas as well as damaging winds. Thankfully, no serious damage was reported, but it's that time of year when things can get nasty real fast.

The forecast this week for Polk County calls for a 60% chance of thunderstorms today and tonight, with between a 40 and 50 percent probability for the rest of the work week. Keep the umbrellas at the ready.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


The battle over how to deal with illegal/undocumented immigrants, mostly from Mexico and Central America, continues to be fought city by city as the federal government and Congress are not showing leadership one way or the other.

You may remember last July when the Avon Park City Council voted down a proposed ordinance championed by then-mayor Tom Macklin which would have 1) made English the town's official language and the only language in which city business would be conducted, 2) fined landlords $1,000 for knowingly renting to illegal or undocumented immigrants, and 3) revoking the city licenses of any business knowingly hiring illegal/undocumented immigrants. Macklin went on to become the lieutenant governor running mate of St. Petersburg Certified Financial Planner Max Linn last fall on the Reform Party ticket, and following the election co-founded the American Party of Florida.

Over the past few weeks the battleground has switched from Florida to the Dallas suburb of Farmers Branch, Texas. As in Avon Park, this city of 30,000 was bitterly divided when the City Council approved an ordinance in November which would prohibit landlords from renting to illegal/undocumented aliens. The council revised the law in January to include exceptions for minors, senior citizens, and families with a mix of legal and illegal residents, but opponents were able to gain enough signatures to have the measure placed on the municipal election ballot for Saturday.

Information from the Dallas County Elections Office show that the ordinance passed with a 67.6 percent majority, with more votes cast through early voting than at the precients Saturday.

The city had previously passed an ordinance making English it's official language.


The latest St. Petersburg Times/Bay News 9 poll doesn't show any real surprises as to who Florida residents are favouring in the race for the White House.

Among Democrats, U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has a comfortable lead over her rivals with 42 percent. Fellow Senator Barak Obama is second with only 19 percent, followed by former Senator and 2006 vice presidential nominee John Edwards with only 12 percent. Seventeen percent of the Democrats responding say they were still undecided. Pollster Tom Eldon said that Clinton even had a comfortable lead over Obama among African-Americans.

The GOP race is a bit more in the air. Former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani was shown to be leading among area Republicans with 29 percent. U.S. Senator John McCain was favoured by 15 percent with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney on his tail at 14 percent. Undecided responses made up 17 percent of those asked.

When you look at some of the Republican numbers in the Tampa Bay area, there is some sharp divisions. In Pinellas County, known to favour more moderate Republicans, McCain leads Giuliani 25-19 percent. Meanwhile in Hillsborough County, the numbers are reversed with the former New York mayor leading McCain 31-14 percent. One interesting note: In Hillsborough County, one in four registered Republicans participating in the survey noted they would favour former Tennessee senator and actor Fred Dalton Thompson if he chose to enter the race. Statewide, Thompson earned only nine percent, about the same as another potential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

The survey of 901 Florida voters was conducted May 6-9 by Schroth, Eldon, and Associates, a company who primarily works with Democrats, and the Polling Company, whose clientele is mostly Republican. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.5 percent overall, five percent for the Democratic primary and 5.4 percent for the Republican primary.


I got a chuckle out of reading this bit after receiving it yesterday evening from a political activist with whom I serve on the Polk County Democratic Executive Committee. Hope you enjoy it.

President Bush and Vice President Cheney were flying on Air Force One. Cheney looked at Bush and said, "You know, I could throw a $1,000 bill out of the window right now and make somebody very happy."

Bush shrugged his shoulders and replied, "I could throw ten $100 bills out the window and make ten people very happy."

Not to be outdone, Cheney said, "That being the case, I could throw 100 ten dollar bills out of the window and make a hundred people very happy."

Hearing this exchange, the pilot rolled his eyes and said to his co-pilot,

"Such big shots back there. Hell, I could throw them both out the window and make 56 million people very happy!"

Friday, May 11, 2007


ABC / This Week with George Stephanopoulos: U.S. Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama will sit down for his first Sunday morning chat touching on why he feels that he has what it takes to lead America, as well as a variety of issues. And the roundtable participants were not identified this week, but you can bet it will feature conservative columnist George Will in a discussion of the week's political news.

CBS / Face The Nation with Bob Schieffer: War and Politics will be discussed this week with U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R - NE), along with Jeanne Cummings of The Politico, and Michel McQueen Martin of ABC News and National Public Radio.

CNN / Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer: With benchmarks now on the table, will the Iraqi government be able to meet them? Discussing the possibilities will be U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell (R - KY), Barbara Boxer (D - CA), and Lindsey Graham (R - SC), along with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih, and former U.S. Senator Max Cleland (D - GA). Also, actress and newly appointed United Nations Ambassador Against Hunger Drew Barrymore will appear to talk about her new responsibilities.

FOX / Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace: The programme's "Choosing the President" series continues with former New York City Mayor and Republican presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani.

NBC / Meet the Press with Tim Russert: It's "Meet the Candidate" series continues this week with U.S. Senator and Republican presidential candidate John McCain for the full hour.

Syndicated / The Chris Matthews Show: This week's questions: Will the top GOP candidates back President Bush on Iraq, or abandon ship? And, can Rudolph Giuliani win the Republican nomination running as a pro-choice candidate on abortion rights? Those issues will be bantered by British Broadcasting Corporation Washington Correspondent Katty Kay, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent David Gregory, Atlanta Journal Constitution Editorial Page Editor Cynthia Tucker, and Time Managing Editor Rick Stengel.

Bay News 9 / Political Connections: This week, a general discussion of Florida politics with BN9 political analysts, former Florida Governor and Tampa Mayor Bob Martinez (R) and former Tampa Mayor and Hillsborough County Commissioner Bob Buckhorn (D).


A couple of new events have been added to the list. Click here to view.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


The teenyboppers must have hit the phones hard Tuesday night, as beat-box boy Blake Lewis survived the nationwide vote and made the top three for next week. Sad, as he has limited talent and has relied too much on his beat-box style. It's really not bad, if it's done in moderation, but too much is simply annoying.

Lakisha Jones is a very good singer, but with little stage presence. However, she did not deserve to be voted off this week.

The contestant I still predict to win it all, Melinda Doolittle, had a rough night Tuesday. A generally good performance, but not enough to meet expectations this late in the competition. There are two weeks left before the new American Idol is selected, so she had better bring her very best.

If there is any real challenge to Melinda now, it has to be Jordin Sparks. The Arizona teenager has really improved the past couple of weeks, and this week was her best of the season. If the next couple of weeks are like we heard Tuesday, she could very well pull it off. She would almost certainly be the most marketable of the remaining quartet, as she is very photogenic. Even if she doesn't win, Jordin will be successful in music, television/video, or both.


Thankfully, a change in wind direction caused the smoke and ash from wildfires burning primarilly in North Florida and South Georgia to blow away from us, but meterologists are saying that with a north wind expected for tomorrow, we can expect another round of smoky conditions. Schools are already planning on limiting outdoor activities, and anyone with breathing issues such as hay fever are being advised to stay indoors.

A chance of rain is expected for the weekend and early part of next week, which hopefully will allow firefighters to make gains on controlling the blazes that have popped up throughout much of the state. And while it's unusual, many are praying for Subtropical Storm Andrea to come close by and dump some more rain.


My posts on this blog may be limited for awhile, as I have experienced some problems on my computer over the past couple of days.

Normally I write my posts during the early morning before I head out the door to work, but the past two days when I turn on the 'puter I simply get the screen with the IBM logo and Windows does not come up at all. I have installed the latest anti-virus programme, which seems to be working fine, but I may have to take the computer in for repair...if I can afford it.

Please continue to visit, but be aware if you don't see anything for a time you'll know the likely cause.

Thank you for visiting and making I4J a part of your day...and be sure to tell a friend.



The State of Florida is apparantly now ready to resume executions following a nearly five month moratorium on the practice, and the death chamber at Florida State Prison in Raiford has been renovated in preperation.

Nothing as fancy as the folks on that ABC television programme do, but the St. Petersburg Times reports:

"...the death chamber at Florida State Prison is being doubled in size to give execution teams more space, [Team Leader...uh...Corrections Secretary Jim] McDonough said.

"A team of nearly 20 has also gone through extensive training in Terre Haute, Ind., where federal executions are held. A clock in the execution chamber has been positioned to be visible to all officials and witnesses.

"Also, videocameras have been installed. The bed an inmate is put on will be locked in place to minimize movement while the injection is taking place."

No executions have been done at Starke since December 13, when the lethal injection for Angel Diaz was botched, taking double the normal amount of time for death to be official.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Almost three weeks before it's official beginning, at that. The season's first named storm, Subtropical Storm Andrea, has formed off the coast near the Georgia/Florida line. A tropical storm watch has been issued from Altamaha Sound, Georgia to Flagler Beach, Florida. The watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within the next 36 hours.

The forecast calls for little change in strength, and the models are predicting very slow movement for the next four to five days, eventually approaching the coast near Daytona Beach by 2PM Saturday as a depression. Andrea is expected to increase our chance of rain over the weekend, although only slightly. Any help we can get to reduce the fire danger would be welcome.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Click here to view.


The Chicago Tribune political blog The Swamp printed the list of 134 guests who received invitations to last evening's five course white tie state dinner in honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh hosted by President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush at the White House.

Looking over the list the only Floridians I could recognize were, no surprise, the chief executive's brother and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and wife Columba.

While there were a variety of well-to-dos from business and politics on the invite list, I noticed that it was rather heavy with stars from the area of sports. On the list:

Mr. Calvin Borel, Jockey, 133rd Kentucky Derby Winner (That's what you earn when you ride your horse from 19th to win the first leg of the Triple Crown).

Mr. Timothy Hasselbeck, Professional Football Player (Got his invite as the hubby of Elisabeth Hasselbeck of "The View")

Mr. Peyton Manning, Quarterback, Indianapolis Colts

Mr. James W. Nantz, III, Sportscaster, CBS

Mr. Arnold D. Palmer, Professional Golfer

Mr. Gene A. Washington, Director of Football Operations, National Football League (Nice when you get your invite as the guest of Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice...but the Commish wasn't on the list?)

Ms. Robin Roberts, ABC (Yeah, I know she now hosts "Good Morning America", but she used to work for co-owned ESPN doing sports)

One reader who replied had this humourous comment: "W did his gaffe. Laura talked him out of serving BBQ."


Everyone seemed to get so excited late last week about the prospect of Paris Hilton actually being sentenced to 45 days in jail for violating probation after a series of auto and alcohol related run-ins with law enforcement.

The reality show star and party girl certainly deserves every day of the judge's sentence, especially as it's clear that she shows such disregard for the law. Now only was she over ten minutes late for her hearing Friday (something anyone who has been involved in the legal system should know you don't do), but she was filmed the day before driving her Bentley around Los Angeles in further violation of her probation as her drivers license has been suspended. Even after the judge issued his ruling, Miss Hilton shows no remorse, reportedly being heard making disparaging remarks toward the jurist and over the weekend calling her sentence "cruel" can make book on the fact that Miss Hilton will spend no more than ten days in the pokey, if even that. Why? Because California jails are so overcrowded, they often kick out criminals with minor offenses who have behaved themselves.

Too bad.

People in the public eye should not be held to a different standard. There's nothing wrong with enjoying life and having a good time, but when one violates the rule of law and society, he or she --- regardless of their standing in life --- should be prepared to recieve and accept the consequences of their error. Do you hear that, Paul Wolfowitz?

Monday, May 07, 2007


Sometimes a story comes along you just have to look at again.

The Tampa Tribune reports that a 70-year old minister was arrested Sunday in the parking lot of his church in Tampa after an officer found a baggie with 16 rocks of crack cocaine in his shirt pocket along with a pipe to smoke the stuff.

And they thought he was filled with the Holy Ghost...


Lakeland Ledger political columnist Bill Rufty has some strong words about threats by the national leadership of both major political parties to punish Florida after the Legislature voted last week to move our presidential preference primary to January 29.

He had interviewed former Polk County Commissioner Paul Senft, the state GOP's national committeeman, who noted the advantages of moving the primary by focusing on Florida's diversity and the fact that candidates and the media would have a better idea of how a broader spectrum of voters feel.

Rufty wrote:

"...both parties are very much tied to the old ways and traditions of doing party politics and vowed to punish any state that moved its primary to a date before Feb. 5.

"Both parties want to protect the importance of the teeny little caucus in Iowa and the equally teeny, tiny and homogenous vote in the New Hampshire primaries, traditionally the first states to select convention delegates for both parties. As such, they receive lots of attention from candidates who will forget them during the fall campaigns because they are so small in the number of voters.

"Old ways die hard.

"Still, Florida's position as one of the most populous states and a swing state will make its Jan. 29 primary one of the most pivotal in the nation. Who cares that the presidential candidates will have to change strategy?"

And at the end of the piece, Rufty noted:

"So what if Florida and South Carolina and maybe another state or two get penalized in 2008 for dragging the antiquated primary system into the open for all to view? Just remember, if the Republican and Democratic nominees win because of the head start they got from Florida, well, they get to choose their parties' new national chairmen.

"And the clowns of the national parties trying to hold on to the 19th century ways just might find themselves looking for a new position in the Flat Earth Society."


That State Senator Ronda Storms (R - Brandon) would get allllllllll pissed off and tossing verbal bombs at fellow senators, including some in her own party and the leadership.

Dara Karn of the Palm Beach Post described the nasty row in the newspaper's political blog Q:

Freshman Sen. Ronda Storms was taken to task by her Republican colleagues for amending a bill that would have increased penalties for child sex offenders but refused to back down, demanding a recorded vote that made many senators - especially those seeking reelection next year - cringe.

The bill (SB 2544) is the same one that riled GOP colleagues - whom she called “Republicans in name only” - the previous day because they voted for an amendment that essentially gutted the bill.

Senate leaders charged Storms with violating chamber protocol by replacing language in the bill that had been stricken by the committee that heard it, which members had been instructed not to do.

Senate Criminal Justice Appropriations Chairman Victor Crist blamed Storms for tricking him into agreeing to sign a blue card to withdraw the bill from his committee and send it to the floor with the understanding that it would not be significantly changed.

“I feel a little bit hoodwinked right now,” Crist, R-Tampa, said.

Although encouraged by GOP and Democratic senators to withdraw the amendments and let the bill die, Storms, R-Brandon, plunged ahead.

“If there are going to points of personal privilege that relate to me, I think it’s appropriate that I have an opportunity to respond,” she said after Crist’s remarks. “I haven’t done anything dishonest or anything abusive of the process at all. And I take great affront to the attack on my credibility.”

The spat didn’t end there.

After Senate President Ken Pruitt ruled that a voice vote killed her bill, Storms and five others raised their hands, signaling they wanted an official tally of the votes despite a prior admonition from Sen. Paul Dockery, R-Lakeland, who said that no one wanted to vote against a sexual predator measure.

Republican Sens. J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales; Mike Haridopolos, R-Melbourne; Alex Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, and freshmen senators Don Gaetz, R-Panama City, and Steve Oelrich, R-Cross City, backed her.

The final 20-17 vote left Storms in tears and when the next amendment was offered, she withdrew the bill.

Storms disappeared shortly afterward and was the only absent member at the sine die ceremony.

Anyone with half a brain who has followed Ms. Storms' history on the Hillsborough County Commission, and the various controversies with collegues and others she started, knew this would happen sooner or later. It's rather surprising that it took this long.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


ABC / This Week with George Stephanopoulos: Two presidential candidates, former U.S. Senator and 2004 Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards (D) and Congressman Tom Tancredo (R - CO), will drop by to discuss funding for the U.S. military operation in Iraq. Former Nightline anchor Ted Koppel will visit his old digs to talk about his upcoming Discovery Channel documentary about living with cancer and the importance of teaching people they can still live productive lives, even in the worst scenarios. And the roundtable will feature New York Times columnist David Brooks, ABC News consultant and former Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, and conservative columnist George Will in a discussion of the week's political news.

CBS / Face The Nation with Bob Schieffer: War and Politics will be the subject of this week's discussion with Congressman Charles Rangel (D - NY) and former Speaker of the House (and possible Republican presidential candidate) Newt Gingrich.

CNN / Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer: As the U.S. meets with representatives of Iran and Syria this week in Egypt, does this mark the beginning of a revised foreign policy? Three ambassadors to the U.S. --- Imad Moustapha of Syria, Samir Sumaidaie of Iraq, and Nabil Fahmy of Egypt --- will appear, as well U.S. Senators Richard G. Lugar (R - IN) and Charles E. Schumer (D - NY). Also, former CIA Director George Tenet will discuss his new book, At the Center of the Storm.

FOX / Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace: The programme's series "Choosing the President" continues with U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Christopher Dodd (D - CT). And House Minority Leader John Boehner (R - OH) will offer his views on the Iraqi debate and the new Congress.

NBC / Meet the Press with Tim Russert: Former CIA Director George Tenet will discuss his new book and related issues as the only guest for the full hour.

Syndicated / The Chris Matthews Show: Can the Republican presidential nominee succeed President Bush without necessairly embracing him? And could George Tenet have prevented the current military operation in Iraq in 2003 by resigning? Those questions will be discussed by Michael Duffy of Time magazine, Gloria Borger of CBS News and U.S. News and World Report, Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post Writers Group, and David Ignatius of the Washington Post.

Bay News 9 / Political Connections: This week will feature a review of the Legislative regular session which ended Friday, and probably a look ahead to the special session now scheduled for June which will deal with the property tax issue.

Friday, May 04, 2007


As fully expected, the Legislature is sending an elections bill to Governor Crist which would move up the state's presidential preference primary to the Tuesday following New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary, which means that next year our primary would be held January 29. The governor is expected to sign the measure into law within the next few days.

It will now be interesting to see what happens next. The national Republican and Democratic leadership strongly opposed the move, and had let it be known that if the Legislature moved up the primary date there would be a severe cost. Both parties have threatened to cut the state's delegation to the national conventions in half, and Democratic leaders have gone further in saying that any candidate who campaigns here would lose any delegates he/she wins here.

Florida is an important state, not only in electoral votes but in the amount of money that candidates receive here. It'll be interesting to see which candidates, if any, will ignore the national party mandate or risk the wrath of their Florida supporters. There is also the possibly that at least Democrats will schedule a seperate nominating contest later in the year, making the January primary basically a "beauty contest" which would not count in electing delegates to the convention.

Here are a few reactions:

''This moves Florida up in the picking of the next leader of the free world. It put us a place where we should have been before.''
--- Governor Charlie Crist

"Right now we don't have any delegates. We have people that get invited to a big party where they drop a balloon and people wear funny hats. The truth of the matter is the nominee of either party is going to want to make sure they have not offended the big donors and the big activists in the most important state in the country."
--- Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio (R - Miami)

"People thought Florida would finally be relevant in the primary, but the irony is Florida may wind up moot."
--- Will Prather of Fort Myers, a member of the Barack Obama national finance team

"We don't have any say in setting the primary schedule but we intend to compete in any state that holds a primary or caucus. "
--- Mo Elleithee, spokesperson for Hillary Rodham Clinton

"Florida will be in the driver's seat when it comes to selecting the next president...Whoever wins Florida on Jan. 29 will have tremendous momentum to take all those states on Feb. 5."
--- Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer, who would actually lose his delegate seat if the GOP follows through on it's threat.

''It's going to be a tight race, and candidates are not going to spend it on a beauty contest,"
--- Fort Lauderdale attorney Mitchell Berger, a fundraiser for John Edwards

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Our local congressman, Adam Putnam (R - Bartow), became the latest voice from the Republican side to call on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign, saying today that the nation's highest ranking law enforcement officer did not do himself any favours with his performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month.

Putnam's announcement is worth notice, as his chairmanship of the Republican Conference Committee makes him the third highest ranking GOP member in the House of Representatives. It also puts him at odds with President Bush, who has firmly stood beside his AG through the controveresy surrounding the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys which many have alleged were politically motivated by Gonzales and the White House.

The statement, reported by the Lakeland Ledger on it's Web site, comes hours before ten Republican presidential hopefuls gather for their first debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California

Now that the calls for the AG to step down has reached such a high level of the minority congressional leadership, how long will it be before we hear the news that it has been done?


"Company acknowledges that Artist's services to be rendered hereunder are of a unique, extraordinary, irreverent, intellectual, topical, controversial and personal character and that programs of the same general type and nature containing these components are desired by Company and are consistent with Company rules and policies."

--- Clause from CBS Radio's contract with former morning show host Don Imus

So, the I-man has hired one of America's top trial lawyers to possibly sue his former employer for the remaining $40 million on his contract, alleging that his dismissal after making what could be considered racist and sexual comments against the Rutgers University women's basketball team was a breach of the agreement.
The contract clause above makes it seem that CBS wanted controveresy, but apparantly provided no guidelines to advise just how far the "shock jock" could go. Not only that, but Imus' attorney states that he was to have received a warning before he could be sacked. Of course, there was no excuse for his comments regarding the Rutgers team, but it seems that CBS left themselves open for this type of litigation.
We'll never reallly know, though. Mark your notebooks that within a few months --- before this case would ever get into a courtroom --- Imus and CBS will negotiate a settlement that will keep the radio star with a good lifestyle and keep the Imus Ranch in New Mexico going for awhile.


1) I was halfway right on my American Idol prediction last night. Chris Richardson's run finally ended, but I didn't quite see Phil Stacey getting voted off after his performance Tuesday. The next couple of weeks should be quite interesting as we head toward the season finale. The remaining talent is quite good much of the time, and they're going to have to step up considerably if they hope to beat Melinda Doolittle, who I truly feel is the best of class and has some knowledge of how it all works having worked as a backup singer.

2) So, where do we go from here regarding the Iraq war funding dance? President Bush and the congressional leadership will certainly dance around the floor a few times to seek some type of comprimise, but when everything is said and done there will be a funding bill passed without any mandates of a military pullout. For now, Bush has the upper hand with the knowledge that he has enough support among Republicans in the House to block any attempt to override a veto. So the best he'll do toward "comprimise" is to OK some vaguely worded mandates to be included for the Iraqi government to meet which can be easily ignored. IMHO, Democrats in the House should work on a seperate, one issue bill which would mandate a scheduled withdrawl of our forces from Iraq and bring it up for a straight up-or-down vote. At least it would be known who falls on what side without secondary issues getting in the way.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


There should have been no surprise that legislators will have to return to Tallahassee to deal with the issue of property taxes. The special session will be held June 12 - 22 after it became clear that no substantial deal would be made in time before the regular session ends this Friday.

Actually, it is probably for the best to deal with such a complex issue in a special session, when there would be no other subjects to discuss and, therefore, legislators can focus clearly on how best to serve the taxpayers of Florida. To try and work a deal "on the fly" at the last minute with a number of other issues pending would simply be foolish. Legislators would also have the month ahead to look over the variety of options which I am sure are being touted.

But our representatives need to remember that we will be watching closely.


Lakeland Ledger political columnist Bill Rufty reported earlier in the week in his blog Polk Politics that the Polk County Republican Executive Committee was working to get presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney as the keynote speaker for it's Lincoln Day Dinner. That has now been confirmed, and the event will be held at the Lakeland Center at 5:30 PM on May 24. (Personal observation: Isn't 5:30 kinda early for a dinner? Most business types are barely getting out of the office by then.)

The I-4 Corridor has earned the reputation of becoming a major battleground for politics in Florida, and Polk County is in the middle of it all. After all, this is the second straight year that the local GOP has attracted a presidential contender to keynote it's major fundraising event. Last year, it was U.S. Senator John McCain (R - AZ). And Bill Rufty mentions that after word got out that the Polk Repubs were talking possible dates with Romney's camp, staffers with Rudolph Giuliani's campaign got in touch to offer the former New York City mayor's appearance. He has been invited to come to Polk County sometime this summer.

The region's reputation as a political hotbed would only improve if the State House approves a pending bill to move Florida's presidential preference primary to early February. Unfortunately, Democratic National Committee Chairman Dr. Howard Dean is not happy with the prospect. He has threatened to take away delegates to next year's national convention and encourage Democratic candidates not to campaign in Florida if the measure is passed. A truly stupid move which would probably alieniate more Floridians from the Democratic Party and be generally ignored by candidates who realize that the Sunshine State is not only important in terms of electoral votes but money as well.

Personally, I like my idea better. I posted it back in January, and calls for a series of regional primaries based on geography, scheduled from mid-January through mid-May. They would rotate every four years so that the region whose primary was scheduled first one election cycle would be last the following time. You can check it out by clicking here.


Now that we've eliminated the novelties and other wannabees from this season's competition, we have six strong finalists remaining. Two of them will be eliminated on tonight's episode.

I'm a fan of Jon Bon Jovi and his band, so I was looking forward to last night's performance episode to see how the Idols would handle the Philly rocker's music. I wasn't disappointed, as many of them did quite well.

The real hit of the night came at the beginning, as Jacksonville's Phil Stacey rocked the house with Blaze of Glory. Melinda Doolittle, who I've always felt would eventually win the competition, didn't disappoint at the end of the show. She "went to church" with a powerful rendition of Have A Nice Day.

The three contestants I believe will be in danger tonight:

--- Blake Lewis. He rolled the dice with a beat-box version of You Give Love A Bad Name. Not a bad performance, but I have to agree with judge Simon Cowell in noting that half the audience would love it, have would hate it. Not enough to get him in the top three.

--- Chris Richardson. He's not a rocker, and it showed pathetically in a weak rendition of Wanted Dead Or Alive.

--- LaKisha Jones. At this point in the competition, it's more than singing; it's the total performance that counts. And presentation is a big part of it in making the audience believe that you truly feel the emotion that the song is trying to convey. While she did a fine singing job on This Is Not A Love Song, the overall performance and appearance lacked.

BTW: In case you cared, the top ten Idols will begin their tour (and yes, than does include Sanjaya Malakar) with three Florida dates:

July 6: Sunrise / BankAtlantic Center
July 7: Tampa / St. Pete Times Forum
July 8: Jacksonville / Veterans Memorial Arena

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


The Palm Beach Post political blog Q brings to light a clause in the 77 page elections bill which, among other things, would require counties to use optically scanned paper ballots as requested by Governor Crist. The clause in the Senate version of the bill, which passed and is now awaiting action in the State House, was added by Senator Lee Constantine (R - Altamonte Springs). It would allow the sitting governor to basically consolidate his control over his party's state executive committee by allowing the chief executive to add “10 Florida registered voters who are members of the party as appointed by the Governor if the Governor is a member of the party.”

The idea was no doubt inspired by what happened to Governor Crist when he supported Jim Greer to become state GOP chairman. Challenged by former chair Carole Jean Jordan along with friends and allies of former governor Jeb Bush, Greer barely won the post 102-89.